Saturday, January 05, 2008

I want a military style rifle.

Those that want to dampen the Second Amendment often say that civilians shouldn't have military style weapons. There is one small problem, every pistol, every rifle, and even bows were originally designed for the military. It sounds good and those that don't have any strong feelings for firearms this sounds reasonable.
I personally own a 1872 Army (AKA Peacemaker) and a 1911 (designed in 1905 and adopted by the military in 1911). Both these were designed for military use, but civilians have used these for generations for target practice and self-defense.

I was down at the local sporting goods store they had an original 1873 Springfield Armory Trapdoor rifle. The carbine version is what the Seventh Calvary would have had at Gressy Grass (Little Bighorn for us whites, but since Custer lost we should have to refer to it as the Lakota do.) Being a history buff and a student of the Indian wars handling this rifle that most of the time you only get to see behind glass was as seeing a game at the old Tigers Stadium.
One of the many reasons the Seventh Calvary was decimated was these rifles, while extremely accurate at long range was a single shot weapon where the trooper would have open the trapdoor, pull out the spent casing. This wouldn't be a problem if a) the ammo wasn't inferior. The troopers would have to take a knife to digout the casing from breech fairly regular b) the Indians weren't using repeating arms (ie Winchesters and bows). The rifle was obsolete when it was adopted because the Army thought if the troopers had repeating arms they would waste ammunition and there were literally thousands of Springfield Armory muskets left over from the Civil War. The Armory at Springfield, MA reconfigured the rifle making it a breech loader that accepted the brass .45-70 gov't round.

To tie this back to the first paragraph, the semi-auto versions of the AK-47 and M-16 are very different from the assault weapons versions. First off, an assault rifle is capable of full-automatic fire. Technically, the M-16 A-2 (and the carbine version M-4 A-2) are only capable of three round bursts and semi-auto fire thus aren't assault weapons. The AK-47 and the M-16 were designed with the Keep It Simple Stupid principle because it was unknown the amount of training that would be given to a 'recruit.'

The M-16 (M-4 and the semi-auto versions) tear down involves pushing two pins out and removing part of the receiver. I've cleaned one before it is the easiest one I've ever cleaned. There are hunters that use the semi-auto version of the M-16 for coyotes and other varmints. The 5.56 NATO round is barely useful for anything else.

In spite of my sidetracks, I enjoyed my brush with a piece history. If I could have afforded it I would have purchased it...even if it would have sat in my safe.


BB-Idaho said...

My two cents, for what it's worth:
the 5.56mm has it's detractors and
followers..IMHO, the argument boils down to logistics. You can carry quite a bit more 5.56, and the tactics folk were looking for close combat suppression. Heck, they traded the .45 auto for a 9mm in the side arm philosophy as well.
My hitch was simultaneous with the short-lived M-14, which seemed like a good weapon. My later experience was in primer explosives research and I saw millions of both 5.56 and 7.62 go out the door, esp in
the late 60s and now again the last few years. So I have no strong position anti 5.56, nor is terminal ballistics in my repitoire. This guy has a pretty good in-depth discussion. A friend collects old military, his most recent a steal on an 8mm Czech Mauser (with bayonette!).
He cleans these things up and tinkers and displays and would never consider actually firing one.
So, if you are patient and keep looking, you may run into a good deal.

Randolphus Maximus said...

Dakota, do you think there is a limit on what type of weapons a citizen should be able to purchase?

If I were as rich as Bill Gates, should I be able to buy M1 tanks or import Germany's MBT if I wanted to?

Just curious on your take on it.


As far as the 5.56 controversy, I have friends that aren't gun savy and I was trying to explain the potency of the round and what a semi-auto in that caliber is used for. There have beeen moves in recent years to move to the 6.5 Grendle and the 6.8 Spec because there are reports that it takes 3 5.56 rounds do to tactical vest where mags are carried and body armor.

The military was going to start a hunt for a new .45 because they were finding the age old argument in Iraq to be true with the 9 not dropping the bad guys. But the trials have been put on hold.

My thought is if a .45 kept my grandpa's bacon safe on Okiwinowam(never said I could spell) It will do the same for me.


Randolphus Maximus,

I'll try to work on a post later this week to explain my position on gun control (I do believe in it, just not from the government) I've written a little obliquely over the years on my thoughts about it. The long and short is the Second Amendment forbides governmental intrusion, this is backed up by the Federalist Papers (and Anti-Federalist Papers).

Ron Simpson said...

my family still has my several greats grandfather's civil war trap door 1873 Springfield